Jerry Hicks For General Secretary

Jerry Hicks Campaign Blog

An amazing struggle and a remarkable victory for the sparks. BESNA RIP [Rest in pieces]

Posted by jerryhicks4gs on February 26, 2012

An amazing struggle & a remarkable victory for the sparks Rank and File
BESNA RIP [Rest in Pieces]

Last week was a truly remarkable one, for it heralded a massive victory for the sparks ‘rank and file’, as we saw the 8 rogue BESNA firms pull out of the wretched deal. Balfour Beatty were followed by NG Bailey then the others, one by one were brought to their knees falling like dominoes.

The volcano that was the BESNA announcement 8 months ago, by confident, arrogant bosses set out to destroy our wages terms and conditions and maximise their profit to feed their greed.

But they were met with a determination to fight by the ‘rank and file’ the likes of which would leave them breathless!

What hit those bosses was the industrial equivalent to a tsunami. Workers and supporters fought like lions beginning way back last August when 500 sparks turned up in London’s Conway Hall, we elected a committee of our own and began to map out the resistance.

Protests, demos, unofficial action and stunts followed that meeting, week in week out through the rest of the summer, through the autumn and winter. We should be proud of what we achieved.

Now we into the next phase and the fight still has a long way to go.

The Rank and File’s message to Unite:
“No sell, No U turns, No back door BESNA”

Unite are talking of sitting down with construction bosses including the discredited BESNA 8 coming weeks, and in a joint statement Unite and the bosses say they are “committed to modernisation of the industry”. This can only mean one thing, deskilling and pay cuts maybe not quite as severe as they would like, but still they are desperate to smash our organisation and push through deskilling as they have tried in the past.

Well, we haven’t come this far to give it all away! We are not about to let their cuts on our wages and deskilling rear it’s ugly again in a different guise.

We must ensure ‘rank and file’ members are on any committees that are set up to negotiate with the bosses and that no deal should slip through the back door. Regular reporting back to the members is vital so we all have a say in our industry democracy must be restored in our unions it’s long overdue. No deal can be agreed without a ballot

Any deal must include…………….[and more besides!]

Rule 17 has to be adhered to with no more bogus self employment whatsoever. Why should we have to pay to be paid by agencies.

We must have elected stewards and safety reps on all sites, this is vital for union organisation.

An end once and for all to Blacklisting must be top priority. We need our activists on site and cannot allow anyone involved in this or any other dispute to be victimised.

Let’s ensure a new deal is fair and just and involves all trades. One rate across the industry.

There should be no exploitation of any worker from the civils to the sparks. If we join and fight together we can make construction an industry we would want our children to be in with proper apprenticeships and training for all.

Let’s give credit where it’s due.

The ‘rank and file’ has led this dispute from day one after all it’s our industry which is under attack. But we have received help from people far and wide.

We must thank our brothers and sisters from overseas who supported us. In Australia and the USA as well as other countries, International workers of the world were united.

The rank and file ‘Siteworker’ magazine and leaflets getting the message out across the sites. JIB facebook is superb and integral to our communications network as are these updates.

Hundreds of individuals [they know who they are] and groups helped enormously.

‘Unite the union’ who finally got on board and we must thank the organising team.

But it has been the ‘rank and file’ who have led the way and let no one say any different. [Still waiting for that public apology Bernard!].

The coming weeks will be just as important as the last few months when we go into battle once more. Keep up the fight comrades, no mountain is too high when we stick together and fight like lions. BESNA is dead let’s build a strong powerful movement we can do it we have the power!

Our struggle can be an inspiration to all workers, where we help each other wherever we can. It can be a model for Unite and others union and for anti Cuts groups.

The TUC called ‘Civil Disobedience’ though they probably never meant it; they certainly didn’t come on any of our demos. But that’s precisely what the ‘rank and file’ delivered. And we won!

Come celebrate the victory and plan the next phase.
We are planning a National ‘Rank and File’ meeting for a few weeks time, probably in Birmingham. Details to follow.

For more info please visit….. Electricians Against The World http ://www . jibelectrician . blogspot . com/

Get in touch with us by Email siteworkers@virginmedia.com

 

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